Supporting your immune system in holistic ways is one of the most important aspects of healthy living today. After all, your finely tuned immune system is responsible for keeping you protected from infection, illness, and pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that may have sneaked by other defense systems in the body. Factors like too much stress, pollution exposure, and nutrient deficiency from a poor diet can negatively affect your immune system and make you more prone to infections. Whether you're currently dealing with a cold, or simply want to help prevent one from happening, you can support your immune system with the right herbal picks. But if you've been taking herbs and not seeing the results you hoped, it might be because you're using the wrong herbs, at the wrong time. Read on to find out if you're using the wrong herbs to boost your immune system, plus how you can fix it now.
Down with a cold: time for immune stimulants and antimicrobials
When you're in the midst of a cold or infection (or in close proximity with it – like when everyone is sick at the office, or when a nearby passenger sneezes on the bus during your morning commute), you want to turn to immune stimulants. These herbs (like echinacea, wild indigo, and myrrh, which you'll find in our infection-fighting EchinaSeal blend), are used on a short-term basis to assist the body at the onset and during infection. These herbs aren't recommended for long-term, preventative use though, because thanks to their stimulant nature, they could lead to immune system imbalances if taken over long periods of time. Instead, find our preventative herbal picks below.
What's more, antimicrobial herbs (like goldenseal and antibacterial oregano) are your herbal go-to during an infection. But like immune stimulants, they're best used during acute conditions as opposed to prevention, because long-term use might disrupt beneficial gut flora (your friendly bacteria and microbes!).
Prep your body for cold season: loading up on immune tonics and adaptogens
When you want to nourish your immune system and prep your body for cold season, immune tonic herbs and adaptogens are your ultimate sidekicks. Build immunity and lower your chance of catching common infections by taking these herbs regularly and over long periods – prior to getting sick. These herbal picks include: astragalus, codonopsis, reishi... You can find a blend like Deep Immune that combines potent immune tonics in ideal ratios. And if you do catch a cold, lay off the immune tonics and turn to immune stimulants to nip it in the bud and kick the infection before you have time to say: Achoo!
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.
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Astragalus root is a perennial herb native to northern China and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Use it as an adaptogen for a healthier stress response and to support your immune system.
Codonopsis root is a milder substitute to ginseng in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Also called bonnet bellflower on account of the shape of its blossoms, codonopsis can be found throughout China and other parts of Asia. Use it as an adaptogen to boost immune system health and brain power.